Tampa Republican Shawn Harrison has formally withdrawn from the race in Senate District 14.
The move came nearly a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed Green Beret Jay Collins. The surprise endorsement came hours before Collins shifted his candidacy from a bid for federal office in Florida’s 15th Congressional District.
Harrison, the preferred candidate for GOP Senate leadership, alluded to the shock developments in a tweet.
“Officially withdrew from Senate District 14. Sometimes events beyond our control just happen. Roll with it,” he posted. “Thanks to Sen. Kathleen Passidomo for your integrity and loyalty. You’ll make a great President.”
Passidomo, a Naples Republican, chairs the Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, which had already invested in the Tampa media market while Harrison was the only Republican in the race. If the Republicans maintain control of the Senate or expand their majority, Passidomo has been named as Senate President-designate and will preside over the upper chamber of the Legislature.
Harrison, a former state Representative, had started out with strong fundraising after launching his campaign in April. As of the end of May, he reported $50,060 raised in his official candidate account with $46,476 in cash on hand. His Building The Bay political committee additionally had another $303,307 in cash available to use.
Yet he was never able to catch up with Democratic incumbent Sen. Janet Cruz in financial resources. Through May, she had raised $196,864 in her campaign account and another $334,250 in her political committee, and she was outpacing Harrison each month he was in the race.
By contrast, Collins had been the top fundraiser in a massive field of candidates in CD 15, and closed March with $338,753 in cash on hand after raising $769,447 total. Thanks to differences in federal and state law, he can’t bring all his money with him, but he can start on far more equal footing with Cruz.
With Harrison’s departure, Collins and Cruz remain the only qualified candidates in the race, securing their respective party nominations unopposed. They now face one another in the November General Election.